Cale, JJ [Cale, John Wheldon; Cale, J.J.]
- Randolph Love
[Cale, John Wheldon; Cale, J.J.]
(b Oklahoma City, OK, Dec 5, 1938). American Guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, and engineer. He began his career playing in clubs in Tulsa and joined Gene Crose’s band in 1957. He made some of his first recordings when his own band, Johnnie Cale and the Valentines, worked as a backing group to Al Sweatt. By 1958 his band had become the Johnny Cale Quintette and it was with this group that he made his first recording under his own name, “Purple Onion.” A big break came in 1965 when Snuff Garrett of Amigo Studio hired him to be a recording engineer. Around this time Elmer Valentine, who owned the club Whiskey a Go-Go in Los Angeles, suggested that Cale use the stage name JJ Cale. In 1966 he began songwriting and in 1969 was signed by Denny Cordell and Leon Russell to Shelter Records.
Cale’s success as a singer and songwriter came shortly after Eric Clapton covered his song “After Midnight.” The top-20 success of “After Midnight” and later “Cocaine” and “Travelin’ Light” began a relationship between Cale and Clapton which has lasted into the 21st century and produced the Grammy-winning album ...